Conversion of Cellulose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural using Inorganic Acidic Catalysts in the Presence of Pressurized Water Steam

Chiliu Cai, Qiying Liu, Jin Tan, Tiejun Wang, Qi Zhang, Longlong Ma


Traditionally, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is produced by using a water-organic solvent medium, which inevitably increases production costs and adds subsequent separation processes. To minimize cost and/or toxic organic solvent usage, this study presents an effective pathway for producing HMF from cellulose. The process uses a fixed bed reactor with a steam stripping process in which the cellulose is converted into HMF and other products in the presence of acidic inorganic salts. In the process, the cellulose was hydrolyzed to glucose, which was followed by isomerization to fructose and fructose dehydration into HMF. The produced HMF was easily vaporized into the gas phase, which avoided its conversion into undesired byproducts. An acceptable HMF yield of 28.2 mol% was obtained using KH2PO4 as the catalyst at 270 °C. This technology could be used to obtain both HMF and furfural (FF) from different lignocellulosic biomasses. This stripping technology has advantages such as the lack of organic solvents, showing an alternative and green HMF and/or FF production from lignocellulosic biomass.


Cellulose; HMF; Conversion; Steam stripping process; Fixed bed

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